June 23, 2015 at 7:00 am #78717
I share in the forums from time to time, and I definitely appreciate honest feedback.
Currently I’m having trouble accepting myself and mistakes I’ve made. Self-compassion is really difficult for me. Specifically, I have a situation where a family member heard about one of my mistakes from one of his friends, and now I perceive that this family member treats me differently with the knowledge. I am so sensitive, and this perceived different treatment (or even just the knowledge that he knows about what I’ve done) effects me really profoundly. It triggers thoughts that I’m a wholly unlovable person, and I’m having trouble existing in my own skin every time I think about it. It’s really uncomfortable.
Thoughts welcome 🙂June 23, 2015 at 9:02 am #78734
Without self compassion life is so very difficult. I know, I lived it. It is only lately I feel empathy for my own self- what a feeling! What a new experience. Here is a trick I learned a month ago that lead me here. I felt empathy for another person, then I thought: what about this person am I relating to. Next, I shifted my empathy from being directed to that person to being directed at me. Whenever we feel empathy for another person, it is something about the other person that reminds us of ourselves, and that is an opportunity to redirect empathy to self.
As far as mistakes, real or imagined… got to have this self empathy to no longer be bothered by it, otherwise the ongoing “proofs” of your imperfections- imperfections according to the part of you that makes a living out of negatively criticizing yourself- will keep bothering you. A little moment of compassion today, the willingness to experience a moment of it today, tomorrow…?
anitaJune 23, 2015 at 11:00 am #78740
First of all, the obvious point – everyone makes mistakes. We are all human and not everything we do works out how we intended. And sometimes we do things which we know to be wrong, but our emotions take over. We are not robots, and at the end of the day, that is what makes us interesting. But it is also human to learn from our mistakes, so that we can try to avoid them happening again. So it is natural to feel bad about a mistake, but also important to put that energy into preventing the mistake being repeated.
However, from reading your post, it seems that it is the fact that another family member is aware of your mistake that is the most painful aspect of this, rather than the mistake itself. Nothing unusual about that, but it is an important distinction if you are to conquer these feelings that you have.
When we make a mistake that no-one else is aware of, we have our own feelings of not living up to our own standards. That can be difficult enough to manage, but at least everything is internal. And if we are honest, if we can ensure that no-one else is aware of the mistake, we will do everything we can to keep it that way.
Once someone else is aware of the mistake, a whole load of other feelings come into play – embarrassment, shame, awkwardness. And if that person is someone close to us, we also have the concern that we have failed to meet their standards that they expect of us. From what you have said, I am guessing that is where you are at the moment.
When someone close to you has made a mistake, and you become aware of it, how do you feel for them? I’m guessing you feel bad for them, and try to give them your support, especially if they are truly sorry for what they have done. Is there any reason to suppose that this family member would feel any differently about you in the same circumstances?
You say that you perceive that this family member is treating you differently now that he is aware of the mistake. From that, it sounds like you have not openly discussed the matter with him. The perceived different treatment may therefore simply be that he is feeling uncomfortable in trying to avoid the subject, and you in turn are looking for any signs that he might bring it up. You are both trying to avoid mentioning the elephant in the room, which is always going to be awkward. Without knowing the specific nature of the mistake, it is difficult to give specific advice, but one solution might be for you to break the ice and acknowledge the issue and how bad you feel about it.
As someone who has screwed up massively on more occasions than I can remember, I hate the feeling of failing to meet my own standards, but the feeling of letting down others is far, far worse. Sometimes I have been forgiven, sometimes I haven’t. The response of others is not something that I can control. And it would be arrogant of me in the extreme to simply expect anyone to forgive me for whatever I did. But I feel ashamed and embarrassed whatever the response of others, because I have let them down in some way.
This is where you seem to be at the moment. This does not make you unlovable, or wicked, or evil. The very fact that you have these feelings proves the exact opposite – that you do care deeply about what you have done, and its effect.
The way I bring myself out of it is by taking action. It doesn’t always resolve the problem, but it at least allows me to heal myself again. That action might be a simple apology, or a handwritten note. It might be taking specific action to repair or minimise the damage I have caused. It might even be just a firm and binding resolution to myself. If I can at least feel that I have done everything in my power to put things right, I can feel at peace with myself. How others feel is up to them.
I don’t know what your mistake was, but as things stand it is continuing to damage you. Take action now to put it right, and the repaired version of you will be stronger than the original.July 11, 2015 at 8:01 pm #79661